Sunday 7 June 2020 marks the second World Food Safety Day. At the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), we are celebrating the occasion under the theme Safe food in informal markets: healthier people, wealthier lives, in recognition of the dual role of informal food markets in nourishing people and providing incomes.
On this page, we highlight our long-standing collaborative research on risk-based approaches to improve food safety in informal markets. Aligned with the global call to action to ‘team up for safety’, we also include messages from some of our partners who support our research efforts towards ensuring that the food we buy and eat is safe.
In Asia and Africa, most livestock products and fresh produce are sold in informal markets. The human health burden from foodborne disease is comparable to that of malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis. Unsafe food is also a barrier to market access for poor farmers.
Food safety is a key part of ILRI's research portfolio. ILRI leads the food safety flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health. This flagship seeks food safety solutions that can work in informal markets; it focuses primarily on mitigating aflatoxin contamination in key staples and on managing risks in informal markets for nutrient-rich perishables like meat, milk, fish and vegetables.
Better management of foodborne diseases could save nearly half a million lives a year and safeguard the livelihoods of over one billion small-scale livestock producers.
Our approach to food safety research is based on risk analysis. We identify the hazards in food and build the capacity of policymakers to understand risk-based approaches. Policy will be more effective and efficient if based on actual risk to human health rather than the presence of hazards. We generate evidence and develop solutions to improve the safety of animal products in informal food markets.